Armed with wooden logs and long nails, Jaan Alliksoo has long been a prominent figure in Estonia’s DIY Eiffel Tower scene.
Having completed his first tower in 1978 at the tender age of 17, Alliksoo began his career in tower construction. Alliksoo’s first tower was also created for use by Russian forces. In 1978 when he built his structure, it was used to watch over cows in the collective farms in the region. It also attracted KGB interest in the hopes they could see Sweden, 170 miles to the West.
Although his initial tower stood for only 10 years before being taken down due to dangerous conditions, Alliksoo had started a long process of honing his craft. After his first tower was disassembled, he built another in its place, higher than the last. This tower was eventually dismantled as well in 1997, and Alliksoo began formulating plans for his next tower, which would be his crowning achievement.
By studying plans on the internet, Alliksoo created his own plans to make a replica of the Eiffel Tower. His replica would still feature a folksy wooden construction, and would be a 1/10 scale model of its French predecessor. With Estonia free from Soviet influence since 1989, Alliksoo decided to create the tower for tourism, allowing visitors to see across the island of Hiiumaa and out over the Baltic.
When Alliksoo finished the tower in 2007, it stood at 31 meters, a near perfect, albeit rickety model of the Eiffel Tower. Since its creation, Alliksoo has faced a number of challenges from the Estonian government, requesting that he dismantle the dangerous tower.
Despite the negative government reaction, the tower has attracted 30,000 visitors per year and has developed a status as a traditional monument on the island. Besides, if they make him take it down, who knows how large the next one will be?